business

Outcry as Japanese winemaking couple ordered to leave France

51 Comments
By Rémy Zaka with Fiachra Gibbons

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© 2018 AFP

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

51 Comments
Login to comment

From their vineyards in southern France, the Shoji family have produced a hit white wine for the past year but are now threatened by an immigration law that would compel them to leave France citing their limited earnings 

Please get it right! There is a glaring mistake!

Rie and Hirofumi Shoji's "exceptional" red wine, Pedres Blanques (White Rocks), made from grenache grapes near Banyuls-sur-Mer in the French Catalan region of Roussillon, became an instant hit after their first harvest last year.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

So they're being kicked out for producing something excellent but not making enough money from it, but hundreds of thousands of dirt poor refugees who produce nothing from the Middle East are allowed to stay. French govt. needs to think a little better.

7 ( +30 / -23 )

I'm sure things will settle down and the couple allowed to stay.

Not a big deal.

-5 ( +10 / -15 )

I hate morons that want to push an agenda under the gaze of "doing their job"

13 ( +18 / -5 )

Jean L'Heritier, the organiser of a wine fair in Perpignan, the capital the Roussillon region, said it would be a "huge loss for everyone if the Shojis had to leave. The quality of their grapes, and the typically Japanese perfectionism of their winemaking" had impressed their peers, he told the local newspapers, L'Independant.

the typically Japanese perfectionism of their winemaking

Nihon Sugoi!

Seriously though, there does seem to be something working against the Shojis here. They have lived and worked in France for several years, are well-known in the industry and have made very highly-rated wine that sells immediately.

https://www.thelocal.fr/20180702/japanese-couple-in-france-threatened-with-deportation-despite-making-exceptional-red-wine

15 ( +15 / -0 )

I guess they want more people from elsewhere. OK france!

-9 ( +6 / -15 )

I have heard about this before; "Nihon sugoi" .... well most of their supporters are French, Spaniards, and from one of the world's greatest food regions, the Basque Country. This is a shameful and moronic decision. This couple paid their own money, took out a loan, and did not get government assistance and is producing a product that will likely do very well given the reviews it has received by the locals.

@Speed - in this case I agree with you. They are throwing out producers who if they stay, can be taxed to support France's acceptance of refugees.

I think there is more to this story.

6 ( +12 / -6 )

They have lived and worked in France for several years, are well-known in the industry and have made very highly-rated wine that sells immediately.

Seems to me from the article at least, that since they decided to change their status from "employees" to "farmers" the system flagged them!

I think there is more to this story.

I agree! I'll bet it something along the lines of them working for someone, and then deciding to go out on their own, and someone got butt-hurt in the process.

(From the article;)

But when they tried to change their status on their papers from "employees" to "farmers" officials told them they would have to leave the country because they earned less than 2,000 euros a month.

How else would they be able to go from "employees" to "farmers"?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

@Speed: France doesn't want the immigrants and refugees. They are forcing Italy to accept all of them.

-16 ( +5 / -21 )

How dare they have a dream and act on it!

2 ( +9 / -7 )

The Shojis will have to follow the rules like everybody else, which is what foriegners in Japan are constantly told.

I should think that France does have an appeals procedure and the Shojis will be treated with courtesy.

8 ( +13 / -5 )

incomprehensible

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

France is still debating whether it should get rid of foreign nationals categorized as potential terrorists or trouble makers (Fichier S) but want to expel those two wonderful individuals who could contribute so much to the country.

The world is going crazy.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

I am angry about this and will boycott France. It seems like bullying of Japanese. The France Authorities were worried about the Japanese couples wine getting too popular, and taking sales away from France wine.

Come back to Japan, Shoji’s. Produce your wines here where you are welcome and show the French how to make wine.

-36 ( +4 / -40 )

Just come back to Japan. Nagano is great place for wine making.

-15 ( +1 / -16 )

Nagano is so-so. Yamagata is better. Takahata wines are my favirite.They should start up winery there.

-16 ( +1 / -17 )

Don't expect French bureaucrats (or ones here for that matter) to be very flexible, especially when it comes to foreigners operating on their own turf.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Their story is quite inspiring, its got everything. A couple finds they share a joint passion, fall in love and devote their lives to it, meeting with resounding success attributable entirely to their own hard work. Its very compelling, just by reading this story I've become a huge fan of theirs without having ever tried their wine.

Hope this is resolved in their favor soon.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

I'm sure things will settle down and the couple allowed to stay.

i agree, Oldman, they'll be all right. Just their first taste of the infamous French bureaucracy. A regional court will hear their 'appeal' on 6 September. They have the populace on their side, are law abiding immigrants and locals seem to love them. Se quedan.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Ironically, one of the reasons they probably left Japan to pursue winemaking elsewhere was to get away from silly rules and inflexible government bureaucracy.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

My Japanese PR was straight forward after 8 years and I have never worked a single day in more than 25 years.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

I would think most, if not all, countries have rules that must be followed by foreigners wanting to run businesses. Certainly Japan has such rules regarding amount of money that must be invested, number of local hires, necessity for an office etc. Perhaps this couple would have done better by partnering with a French national to be the owner with them as employees.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

In France you need to earn at least the equivalent of the minimum wage of a full-time worker to qualify for self-employed visa status. This wage is called the SMIC and its currently around €1500 per month. If they are only earning €2000 between the two of them, then it seems like they don't qualify. Unfortunately immigration policy isn't based on how popular the wine is. Perhaps their customers can pay a bit more if the wine is really that good? The goal of the French gov't is obviously to reserve low wage work for the native French workers since the unemployment rate is quite high.

vous devez être en capacité de dégager un niveau de ressources au moins équivalent au salaire minimum légal en France pour un temps plein.

*{you must be able to earn at least the equivalent to the legal minimum salary in France on a full time basis} *

https://france-visas.gouv.fr/web/france-visas/activite-professionnelle-non-salariee-ou-liberale

I am angry about this and will boycott France. It seems like bullying of Japanese

Well, the equivalent visa in Japan would be the business manager visa and from what the internet is saying, you need to draw a salary of at least ¥250,000 per month to satisfy immigration. So pretty much the same policy.

The applicant needs to receive a monthly salary of at least 250,000 yen from the Japanese company after obtaining the visa.

https://www.juridique.jp/visa/requirements.php

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Authorities were worried about the Japanese couples wine getting too popular, and taking sales away from France wine. dude seriously you nearly always dont know wtf your talking about. the wines they produce are French, made from French grapes, grown in French soil and with the French climate, and Id say by French wine growing techniques, yes they happen to be a Japanese couple. No different if a French couple were making wine in Japan, itd still be a Japanese grown wine. A wine it classified by the region where its grown, not the people that grow it.

16 ( +16 / -0 )

kickstarter, let the signees put their money where their signatures are. How about a contract fro some wine company for 24,000 euros for exclusive rights to the first 10,000 bottles? Maybe they sold their wine too cheap?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Dumb. Why on earth would the French have a problem with a Japanese couple making french wine? For one it seems highly likely to increase the popularity of French wine in Japan.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

The Shojis will have to follow the rules like everybody else, which is what foriegners in Japan are constantly told.

This! ^^

Ganbare Japan!Today 09:18 am JST

I am angry about this and will boycott France. It seems like bullying of Japanese. The France Authorities were worried about the Japanese couples wine getting too popular, and taking sales away from France wine.

Oh boohoo! Rules are rules, whether it's fair or not is beside the point.

At worst, this is simple regulation that works to make it harder for outsiders to get on an even footing with the locals.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Dumb. Why on earth would the French have a problem with a Japanese couple making french wine?

Probably because someone who is not earning more than the minimum wage is also not paying enough in taxes to offset the healthcare, pension and unemployment benefits they are entitled to as legal residents in France?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

 It seems like bullying of Japanese. 

Nonsense. It's the inflexible application of immigration laws to two people who deserve to stay in France, who also happen to be Japanese.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

Typical bureaucratic nonsensical regulatory garbage that exists in many Countries - UK included.

It's got nothing to do with the fact that they're Japanese, just a matter of box ticking and being non-French.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

The decision is incomprehensible but I am not too worry about them, the situation will be fix soon. A lot of people are supporting them. In any immigration system you will find poor made or insensitive decisions. It can be a pain to navigate throughout French bureaucracy, but it's not as inflexible or heartless as you can find in some other countries.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

They just need to engage a lawyer to navigate the French immigration laws.

Expect a GoFundMe page to appear soon....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The Shojis will have to follow the rules like everybody else, which is what foriegners in Japan are constantly told.

This! ^^

Ganbare Japan!Today 09:18 am JST

I am angry about this and will boycott France. It seems like bullying of Japanese. The France Authorities were worried about the Japanese couples wine getting too popular, and taking sales away from France wine.

Oh boohoo! Rules are rules, whether it's fair or not is beside the point.

At worst, this is simple regulation that works to make it harder for outsiders to get on an even footing with the locals. Coincidentally, this sentiment is something foreigners in Japan are faced with everyday. It's interesting to note the contrast as to how the Shoji's story makes news headlines.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

It made headlines because they are Japanese. As for engaging a lawyer....the answer my friend is in the story, they earn very little. Lawyers aren't cheep.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It got nothing to do with the wine, nothing to do with them being Japanese, but everything to do with them not earning enough for what is considered a decent subsistence in France. Event trying to make a huge media boohaha about this won't change a law that is there for a very good reason.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Come back to Japan, Shoji’s. Produce your wines here where you are welcome and show the French how to make wine.

You know there is a reason they went to France in the first place, and it's got a lot to do with the too-tight under-wearing, cutting off blood to the brains, bureaucracy that is Japan, I'll bet!

6 ( +6 / -0 )

It’s the same or maybe worse in France....

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

The rules will see them as simply Non-EU, not Japanese. If the rules are income-based, it will not matter how "French" their business activities are. I guess they need to make more wine or sell it for a higher price.

If you want to see vindictive immigration policy in action, a better example would be how the UK treats non-EU spouses.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

The story has a bouquet of a government official acting on behalf of a envious competitor.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Come back to Japan, Shoji’s. Produce your wines here where you are welcome and show the French how to make wine.

You know there is a reason they went to France in the first place, and it's got a lot to do with the too-tight under-wearing, cutting off blood to the brains, bureaucracy that is Japan, I'll bet!

You are right, Yubaru. I'm sure there's lots of bureaucracy in Japan. I really hope things will be better enough for them to stay in France. There's also a difference in climate and grape varietal which can affect the quality of a wine. Yes, the bureaucracy is probably the old geezers who only stick with their old values without concern for the people. That might be another reason why they came to France, where the values are more open towards current trends. I hope because of this openness, the French will reconsider and let them stay.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

"Sell" the business to a shell corporation run by hidden owners, who then hire the couple as employees and specify a salary.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I'm sorry to hear this is happening to them.

But for all the outrage, Japan is even more strict on income. I think that owners have to earn a salary of over 250,000 per month in addition to having two full time Japanese employees and revenue of over 50,000,000yen per year, +50,000,000 investment in the first year to be eligible for visa status as an investor.

The hurdle in France appears quite low in comparison.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Don't expect French bureaucrats (or ones here for that matter) to be very flexible, especially when it comes to foreigners operating on their own turf. funny thing is you could easily replace French with Japanese and youd perfectly describe Japan.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Come back to Japan. Make better wines than the French do then sell it at a premium in France.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

Sounds very similar to the excuses Japan immigration gives to its foreigners who come and try to switch visa types. Guess it doesn't feel so good when it's YOUR dreams being shat on.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Oh Japanese Yamagata "wine" - shudders... You can taste the bad soil and the salt in absolutely all their wines, so far I've never got any good Made in Japan wine - although I've tries a lot of them, unfortunately.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

So they're doing better than others but have to leave? Doesn't make sense. Were the officials bribed? Almost sounds like someone or some company wants to take over their land and grapes due to its high demand.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

So they're being kicked out for producing something excellent... 

No, it's because of a provision in the immigration law about minimum income. The provision doesn't make sense in this case, so hopefully they'll be able to make a successful appeal.

It’s the same or maybe worse in France....

The actual numbers of immigrants and approved refugees in the respective countries suggest otherwise.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Stop Begging for a Visa in a Country that doesn't want you. Where is the pride of the Yamato people?

Go back to Japan !

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

The right boxes need to be ticked and backed up to satisfy immigration bureaucracy. It's the same in most countries, that is all.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@JeffLee

France is not the place for the aspiring migrant!

Not many migrants wish to stay in France.That is why the large migrant camp at Sangatte came into existence-the migrants were looking for the next truck to the U.K.

And as for the French?

Its a fact that the largest number of French abroad, in a single city, are also in London working....

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites